Crowdfunding: A new model to fund research?

Pile of Money from freefoto.com (by Ian Britton)
Crowdfunding: Money from many contributors? (picture courtesy of freefoto.com (by Ian Britton))

A few weeks ago I came across something called crowdfunding. I have known about crowdsourcing for a while, but crowdfunding had escapsed me.

I am not sure it is a good idea but I thought I would try it out (see my project here, it develops my project for football prediction or, for more general blogs on forecasting, see here).

Of course, it would be nice to get the project funded but it is also an experiment as, if crowd funding does take off, I want to be able to have some knowledge/experince of the medium.

The idea is that you get a crowd of people to fund a project by contributing small amounts in the hope that you can reach the goal required for you to carry out the project. In order to motivate people to contribute, you offer a series of rewards with the rewards getting better the more that is contributed.

The research community has recently started to show an interest in this model of rasing funds for research. It is still in the very early stages, but I believe that it will become a more pominent feature of the funding landscape in the coming months/years.

If you are interested, there has been some limited scientific publications on Crowdfunding. This is certainly not a complete list, but here are some publications I found via a quick search on Web of Knowledge.

  • Finding philanthropy: Like it? Pay for it (link)
  • Crowd-Funded Micro-Grants for Genomics and “Big Data”: An Actionable Idea Connecting Small (Artisan) Science, Infrastructure Science, and Citizen Philanthropy (link)
  • Strapped for funding, medical researchers pitch to the crowd (vol 18, pg 1307, 2012) (link)
  • Crowd-funding: transforming customers into investors through innovative service platforms (link)

If you are interested in crowd funding platforms, there are many listed on wikipedia.

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